Ascension Day

Today, 40 days after Easter Sunday, is Ascension Day. This oil painting (1958) by Salvador Dali imagines the ascension from the disciples' view point as they gazed upwards after a cloud took Jesus out of their sight. The focus is the feet and this has all sorts of resonances. It especially reminds me of what Paul wrote to the Ephesians about the power of God:

"God put this power to work in Christ when he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly places, far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and above every name that is named, not only in this age but also in the age to come. And he has put all things under his feet and has made him the head over all thins for the church, which is his body, the fullness of him who fills all in all." Ephesians 1: 20-22

The feet also remind me of the cross of Christ, upon which he was raised high to die. Anyone standing at the foot of the cross and looking up would have seen the underside of Christ's feet, the human feet that had walked this earth as we do. In John's gospel the ascension of Christ is identified with the crucifixion where Christ is lifted up in a way that will draw all to him. In Luke's gospel the ascension of Christ takes place on the same day as the resurrection, but in his second volume (Acts of the Apostles) he describes it as 40 days later. In the Acts account (Acts 1: 1-11) the disciples are asked by 2 men in white robes why they are still gazing up.

Salvador Dali's painting seems to say we Christians are still looking up at the feet, instead of making the connection to the next great acts of God after the resurrection and ascension. First the coming of the Holy Spirit (Pentectost). But even that is incomplete and just a foretaste of the Second Coming of Christ in glory. 'Christ has died. Christ is risen. Christ will come again.'


Holy Father and Loving Son,
I look for you in heaven
and I wait for you on earth.
grant to all who accept your word
the joy of approaching you,
now king but still friend,
exalted and yet still brother to us all.

For a previous post on this topic see Dangerous Ascension Day.


  1. Wow! That's a gorgeous Dali painting. Have never seen it before.
    I love your Butler quotation. V. encouraging!

  2. Anita - thanks, Dali's paintings seem to speak to me more powerfully in recent years. I assume you are referring to the Josephine Butler quotation in my previous post.


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